Tesla Model 3: The things 'big name reviewers' don't talk about

EVANNEX

Active Member
M3OC Supporting Member
M3OC Sponsor Vendor
Joined
Feb 22, 2017
Messages
69
Location
Deerfield Beach, FL
Country
Country
#1
Lots of reviews discuss Model 3—its performance and driving attributes, its interior and exterior design, the basic functionality achieved through the landscape display and a myriad of other features. In fact, here at EVANNEX, we’ve done one of those with a very early vehicle.


Above: There it is... my midnight silver Model 3 delivery at Tesla's service center in Dania Beach, Florida (Photo: EVANNEX)

I’ve now been driving my Model 3, one of the first in South Florida, for about a week, and I’d like to share some of my observations about the car, without repeating what those of you who follow the vehicle already know from earlier reviews.

First, the big picture—Model 3 is a truly transformational vehicle. It provides high performance, long range, and a premium aesthetic at a broadly affordable price. But you already knew that. Let me talk about what you may not know—the good things and the things that might need some improvement.

Now, full disclosure—many of the early owners of Model 3 have been past owners of Model S or Model X. I’m one of those people. I’ve had over five years of driving experience with Model S and almost two with Model X. Many of my observations naturally lead to comparisons between S, X and 3. I’ll save most of that for another post.

So, let’s begin …

Charging Speed. The first time I tried to charge Model 3 in my garage, I was surprised to learn that Model 3 charging using the new Tesla Universal Mobile Charging Cable (UMC) is limited to a maximum of 32 amps. That means that charging on a 240V 40-amp, NEMA 14-50 outlet will get you about 22 – 24 miles of range per hour of charging. That’s not great, but it’ll be absolutely fine for overnight charging.


Above: Charging the Model 3 (Photo: EVANNEX)

Because I also own a Model X with an old UMC, I immediately swapped out the new UMC for the old one and achieved a full 40-amps and a charging rate of between 32 and 38 miles of range per hour (actually more efficient than either Model S or X). The difference between the old UMC and the new UMC is pretty significant!

If you’re the owner of an older Model S or X, hold on to your old UMC and use it instead of the cable that comes with Model 3. And if you’re a first time Tesla owner and you want faster charging at home, you might want to consider buying an old UMC through the used components marketplace.

Information Placement and Ergonomics. Every reviewer mentions the lack of a binnacle—the place directly in front of the driver where a conventional speedometer and other instrumentation appears. You get over this in about 5 minutes.


Above: Sitting in the Model 3, I find the UI easy to learn (Photo: EVANNEX)

The placement of the speedometer and other critical driving information and functions on the left-hand side of the landscape display works well. It can be scanned with no more eye movement that that required to scan the binnacle.

However, because this critical information takes up some of the screen real estate, all other functionality is pushed right on the display. In general, it’s not a big problem, but it can be annoying and possibly even distracting if you must reach or look to the far right side of the display (say, for example, to see turn-by-turn directions from the nav system). There are a number of ways this can be remedied through a software update, and I suspect Tesla will do so in the near future.

Audio. I’m not an audiophile, but the sound system in Model 3 is really, really good—crisp with clearly defined high frequencies and solid bass. The “immersive sound” option makes all the difference—be sure you turn it on. In my opinion, the Model 3 sound system is better than the standard sound system in Model S or Model X. The user interface is servicable, but I suspect that it will evolve over the coming months.

Interior Features. The Model 3 interior design language is minimalist and sleek. Visually, there is little design ‘noise’ to break the smooth flow of the interior geometry. It is, in my view, groundbreaking.


Above: The simplicity of the Model 3 interior is groundbreaking (Photo: EVANNEX)

One reviewer from CNN lamented the fact that there were no buttons and knobs in the driver compartment, a clear indication that he completely misunderstands the design intent and has no clue about the future of automobiles. But I digress.

Although Model 3 has a collection of typical interior features including lighted visor mirrors (an inside joke for Model S owners), the primary focus is the center console. As the guy who designed the very first center console for Model S—EVANNEX’s critically acclaimed Center Console Insert (the CCI)—I’d like to commend Tesla for a well-executed center console for Model 3. It contains everything you’ll need to store your stuff, charge and view your smartphone display, and easy access your USB and 12V ports. It provides closed storage with smoothly operating covers and doors.

Three quibbles:

1. The standard gloss black surface of the center console shows every finger print, every spec of dust and every droplet of liquid that might inadvertantly spill. Therefore, the surface becomes messy very quickly.

2. The center console surface is smooth and quite attractive, but its smoothness is also a minor liability. The center console is where the driver puts stuff—keys, ID cards, a pencil, even a smart phone when it’s not in its own compartment. As I mentioned, Model 3 is nimble, and during a quick turn everything the driver places on the center console surface goes flying. It’s happened to me a few times already.

3. In my opinion, the physical height of center console violates the interior design language. It’s unnecessarily high. Hopefully, a future iteration will place the top of the center console at the same height as the seat cushion, allowing this important element to better blend with the interior. Sure, you’ll lose a little vertical storage space, but you’ll gain a better aesthetic.

Exterior Features. I love Model 3’s exterior—clean, simple, and efficient. For sticklers, the panel gaps on my vehicle were consistently good at approimately 4 to 5 mm throughout, indicating a solid manufacturing process. The trunk opening is much larger than many feared it would be and with the rear sets folded down, you can load a 72” L x 36” wide x 16 “H box into the car. That’s a big box! The trunk hatch requires a bit of a push to close.

Above: A look at my Model 3 with the 18" aero caps (Photo: EVANNEX)

The doors open wide for easy entry. Their signature feature are the J-handles that rotate outward for opening. I have two minor quibbles with the doors.

1. The J-handles are very cool, rotating outward with a push on the ‘fat’ part of the handle. The problem is that gripping the handle to pull the door open can be a challenge if you use the wrong hand. On the driver side, your left hand is the one you want to use, but if you’re carrying, say, a grocery bag in your left hand, opening the driver door with your right hand can require a little bit of arm twisting. When you approach the driver door, try to remember to have your left hand free. The opposite applies on the passenger side. From a design perspective, a future improvement might be to have the door handle spring open and stay that way until a pull on the thin end occurs. It would then return to the closed position.

2. You have to be conscious of making sure that your door closes properly. In many cases, a seemingly proper push of the door will leave it slightly ajar. The problem is that the window remains slightly lowered during closing, and if you don’t notice the problem and walk away, its possible for rain to enter your passenger compartment. Be careful with this and check your doors for full closure during your early weeks of ownership.

Suspension and Ride. Most big name reviewers agree that Model 3 is a driver’s car with a tight suspension, very little roll, and nimble response. Its spring suspension allows you to feel the road, and it’s likely that some owners’s will accuse Model 3 of a harsh ride. I would characterize the ride as typical of a true sports sedan.


Above: In order to improve the 18" wheel aesthetics, I removed the aero caps, and installed Model S silver center caps (which also fit Model 3), chrome gorilla lug nuts, and black track/red insert wheel bands (Photo: EVANNEX)

But here’s something that you should know. The body sits relatively high above the ground. With standard 18 or 19-inch wheels, there’s a lot of space between the outer perimeter of the tire and the wheel well fender cut out. Those owners who want a closer-to-the-ground look will undoubtedly remedy this with special suspension packages in the aftermarket.

Wheels and Tires. The OEM tire and wheel packages for Model 3 are pretty pedestrian. They get the job done and look okay, but if you’re like me and believe that wheels are probably the most important element, other than body design, to a vehicle’s overall exterior aesthetic, there’s a lot of opportunity for you to improve the look of your Model 3. I moved immediately to make a wheel change.


Above: My Model 3 with new 20" AG M580 wheels installed (Photo: EVANNEX)

It is true that there are considerations you must address before you buy aftermarket wheels—additional cost and the possibility of poor fit or tire interference. It also worth noting that they're frowned upon by Tesla, but that won’t stop tens of thousand of Model 3 owners from making a switch.

My advice:
Order your Model 3 with standard 18-inch wheels and tires, then, if you’re so inclined, upgrade to aftermarket 19s or 20s to improve the exterior aesthetic. The EVANNEX-AG staggered wheels on my Model 3 are 20s, fit the Model 3 perfectly with no interference, and I think, give the car a very cool premium look with a muscular feel. They’ve already gotten a lot of very positive comments. This approach is somewhat more expensive than opting for the OEM 19s provided by Tesla for a $1600 premium, but I think the result is worth it.

For those that are curious, my wheels are AG M580, 20x8.5 front and 20x10 rear. I opted for Michelin PilotSport 4S tires, 245/35/20 front and 274/30/20 rear. There are other less expensive tire options. By the way, the rolling diameter for the AG 20s and tires is within one percent of OEM 19s, so there is virtually no impact on speedometer or other driving functions.

Summary. I waited almost two years for my Model 3. Overall, it’s exceeded my expectations in almost every category. But like every car, it’s not perfect. I’m confident that Tesla will remedy almost all of the quibbles and minor issues I mention in this post quickly. And for other things, we at EVANNEX will try our best to provide those of you Model 3 owners (or reservation holders) with the ability to make this near perfect car perfect for you.


Above: Loving the new look (Photo: EVANNEX)

Bottom line—the Model 3 was definitely worth the wait!

===

Note: Article originally published on evannex.com, by Roger Pressman

*Review by Roger Pressman, author of Getting Ready for Model 3, and, founder of Electric Vehicle University. Note: If you're located in South Florida, feel free to view this Model 3 in-person at a special event (just be sure to RSVP) this Sunday.
 
Last edited:

oripaamoni

Active Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
136
Location
San Diego
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#2
Great summary, I rented a M3 for 24hrs and have many of the same comments as you do. What surprised me the most was how good the sound system was (I would say its even better than B&O system in my 17 audi, which was already one of the best stock sound systems I have heard.) Bass was deep and solid. Even more surprising was the lack of interior rattles and creaks, Even my Audi day one had rattles coming from the driver door, glovebox area, and especially the rear deck on songs with heavy bass, was very happy to hear nothing in the M3!! Exceeded my expectations for sure.

Piano black console doors looks great but man do they get dirty quick and look super easy to scratch! I am hoping when the other interior colors come out there will be another option we can buy and replace the doors, but I am sure the aftermarket will handle that as well. Don't agree with your assessment on the center console height, I liked how high it was, makes it feel like more of a sports car (porsche center consoles are very high)

Seats are very comfortable, only thing I would like is for the headrest to able to be adjusted forward a bit so it would meet the back of my head, for safety reasons you always want no more the an inch of distance from the back of your head to the headrest.

One minor software updatable gripe was how non responsive / inconsistent the volume roller on the steering wheels was, roll it slowly one or 2 clicks and nothing happens, roll is fast and a bit happens but hard to judge , it should be that every notch of that little wheel is directly related to a specific volume increase, would allow you to quickly reduce and increase the volume with high accuracy. Thats how it works on my Audi and I love it.

Its great that you can fit a 275 in the back! thats a wide tire, the staggered setup look s awesome and make sense on a RWD car! Totally agree about the wheel gap, All my cars have sat on aftermarket adjustable coilovers, I will for sure be lowering my M3
 
Last edited:

c2c

Active Member
M3OC Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
176
Location
Seattle, WA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#3
Charging speed: So if I am going to the trouble and expense of putting in a NEMA 14-50 outlet on a 50+ Amp circuit, I should consider getting a Juicebox or Model S/X charger that can deliver 40 amps to the car? With the Juicebox i get bells and whistles.
 

rareohs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Messages
216
Location
Portland, OR
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#5
That looks unlike any silver m3 I’ve ever seen, an I missing something? Is this a special paint job or photoshopping? That thing looks almost chrome in those photos...
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2017
Messages
6
Location
san diego
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#6
the new Tesla Universal Mobile Charging Cable (UMC) is limited to a maximum of 32 amps. That means that charging on a 240V 40-amp, NEMA 14-50 outlet will get you about 22 – 24 miles of range per hour of charging.
I don't think this is correct. The Model 3 goes significantly further on the same amount of electricity A Model S might charge 24 miles per hour at 240V/32Amps, but a Model 3 should get over 30 Miles per hour at that charge rate.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2016
Messages
5
Location
Nassau County, New York
#8
2 THINGS.... STAGGERED WHEELS CANT BE ROTATED, AND THE FACT THAT THE 3 USES THE 21700 BATTERY, MAY BE THE DIFFERENCE IN CHARGING RATES. THEY ARE MORE EFFICIENT THAN THE 18650 CELLS...THX
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Thom Moore

Active Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
38
Location
Annapolis MD
Tesla Owner
Model S
Country
Country
#9
Good luck in the potholes! It would be helpful to warn the unsuspecting that use of oversized rims and low profile tires will guarantee expensive wheel damage on many USA roads, especially in northern parts in spring when potholes pop out everywhere.

The question I keep asking myself every time I'm tempted by oversized wheels is "why don't real racing cars use them?
 

Mark C

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
264
Location
Arab, AL
Country
Country
#10
Charging speed: So if I am going to the trouble and expense of putting in a NEMA 14-50 outlet on a 50+ Amp circuit, I should consider getting a Juicebox or Model S/X charger that can deliver 40 amps to the car? With the Juicebox i get bells and whistles.
The Tesla Wall Connector EVSE is capable of up to 90A. Note that the comments in the story on charging speed were related to the UMC that comes standard with the car. If you planned to buy a Wall Connector anyway, it's hard to beat the deal Tesla gives for the:
Model S/X/3 Wall Connector
$500.00
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Messages
15
Location
Surrey Hills
Country
Country
#12
I've just re-read this article and thread and have a question and a comment - apologies if they've been dealt with elsewhere, don't get to spend as much time as I would like following all the threads.

Like rareohs, to me that midnight silver looks like a (beautiful) mirror-finish. That's how it looks in the metal? S and X I've seen don't seem to have that same quality.

And the dust and fingerprint-magnet center console piano-black finish; I'm hoping an after-market company will offer stick-on panels or changeover doors in other finishes - maybe one that matches the timber strip on the dash. (After Evannex has fixed the console, can they do us a Lighted T for the 3 please?)
 

garsh

Dis Member
Moderator
M3OC Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
7,679
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#13
Like rareohs, to me that midnight silver looks like a (beautiful) mirror-finish. That's how it looks in the metal? S and X I've seen don't seem to have that same quality.
If you want it to look *that* good, then as soon as you get the car, pay someone to "paint-correct" it, then apply a ceramic coating.